ILKLEY director of rugby, Rhys Morgan says it is an honour to represent his country after he was appointed as head coach of the England deaf team.

Morgan, who had been the backs coach for the side since last July, takes the top job after Sean Fletcher stepped down from the role in April.

The pair met whilst working for the England police team and Morgan thinks it was his relationship with Fletcher that encouraged him to accept the offer.

Morgan said: “He (Fletcher) brought me on board with the England deaf team when I left the police.

“He felt that after six years with the team, beating Wales home and away last year, that there was a smooth transition for me to move up to head coach.

“It is not a huge commitment it is usually once/twice a month on a Sunday so it doesn’t clash with anything.

“As much as I wasn’t looking to take on a higher role with the team, with Sean’s backing I felt that it was important to give it a go.”

The role presents Morgan with different challenges than what he would usually face at Ilkley.

He believes the experience has been a huge learning curve and is excited to continue his journey with his nation.

He added: “There is always going to be different challenges within that environment and I am learning some sign language and how best to present my case.

“The game plan would differ to what you would do at Ilkley. At the end of the day, they are all rugby players.

“It makes you focus on what you have to say. I am always one that talks so much so maybe it is a good lesson for me to talk a little bit less (laughs).

“I have played a couple of times for the England classics, it doesn’t matter what it is, it is an honour to do it. It is fantastic to be involved with the England deaf team.”

With the pandemic effecting the schedule, he hopes his team’s proposed tour over in South Africa will go ahead in 2021 after it got cancelled this year.

As for Ilkley, Morgan says his team are raring to go to right the wrongs of last season after a dismal campaign resulted in relegation from the North Premier division.

He insists that his players will have to wait until they have been given the green light though to resume training in preparation for the 2020/21 campaign, which is expected to start later than usual.

He added: “The difficult part is keeping them on a chain. The boys under Joe Lowes and Chuckie Ramsay are chomping at the bit to get going.

“My biggest task at the moment is slowing everybody down because we don’t want to be doing too much too early and not peaking at the right time.

“Everyone is desperate to get back but even if we kicked off pre-season friendlies in August this is still the time when we would be resting.

“All they can do at the moment is work on their personal fitness. When we do come together it will be at the right time.”